Friday, August 30, 2013

Pan Fried Grits... What???

I love grits, and one of my favorite ways to have them is like my Dad used to fix them.  He would make a extra big batch in the morning, we'd eat some and he'd chill the rest in a pan overnight.  Next day he'd remove them from the pan, slice them and fry them.  Oh man were they ever good!

I recently posted a recipe for creamy grits and I thought I'd continue by posting this easy recipe.  I say easy but it's time consuming.  You have to wait a day until the grits are set up and ready to fry.

You'll need to start with a different grit recipe, one that uses no cream, milk, or butter.  I am sure you'll enjoy these wonderful little crunchy goodies.


1 cup Quick Grits
3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Tony Chachere's
1/4 tsp black pepper


Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil, add spices, and whisk in grits.  Stir them to prevent lumping.  Quick Grits usually cook in 4 - 5 minutes.  When done and thickened, cover with a lid and set aside.

Line a small pan with plastic wrap,  pour grits into the pan and shake the pan a bit to make sure them are evenly distributed.  Cover them with another sheet of plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 12 - 24 hours.

Fried Grits

One batch of grits (set up)
2 cups plain flour
1 cup of vegetable or corn oil

Once your grits are set up, you'll need to transfer them to a cutting board.  Slice your grits about the thickness of steak fries (as pictured).  You want to handle them real easy so they don't break.  Next, dredge these in flour.  Give them a really good coating of flour, they're slightly sticky so the flour usually adheres well.

Warm your skillet up and bring the flour up to temp.  I cook mine on MED HI, you can check the temp of the oil by dropping a tiny morsel of flour to see if it sizzles.  Fry the grits on both sides in the oil until they're done, nice and crispy.  Again, handle them carefully when turning them in the oil and removing them.  Drain them on a paper towel and serve hot.  These get really hot internally, so be careful.

You can make a more delicate version by lightly flouring the grits and sautéing them in a pan with a tablespoon of butter.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.


Friday, August 23, 2013

New posts coming for Chaleston SC

This is just a heads-up post about upcoming features of restaurants and fun in Charleston South Carolina. My wife Melaqnie and I recently spent some time in the Charleston area specifically in Folly Beach. We had a wonderful time, met some lovely people, and had some great food. 

We also spent some time in Isle of Palms on the other side of Charleston.  We took a dolphin excursion boat ride which was one of the highlights of our trip. All next week I will be focusing on some of the restaurants where we had some wonderful seafood and Lowcountry cuisine. 

Be sure to check out the new posts starting next week. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tastiest, creamiest Grits EVER!!!

OK, I love grits!  I always have.  Even before people knew how to make them right.  What do I mean by that?  I have always had a theory that when most people say the don't like a particular food, they just haven't had it cooked right.

For instance, in most restaurants here in the South, grits have seemed to be an afterthought.  For years most restaurants just dumped them in a huge kettle of water and boiled them until they resembled wallpaper paste, in consistency and flavor.  It was left up to the self-respecting Southerner to add the salt, pepper, and butter.

Then along came the era of fine dining in the South where dishes once considered mountain cooking, or Soul food all of the sudden were all the rage.  Dishes like Shrimp and Grits (a Low Country favorite), or Grillades and Grits (a Creole Restaurant staple) were appearing on menus in all type of fine dining establishments in the South.  So Grits got an upgrade.

First thing you know is now they're getting enhanced by ingredients like cheese, andouille sausage, pesto (eww yuck) and even pimento cheese (hmmmm... sounds interesting).  The list of additives is endless.  Let's talk now about how to fix the best plain grits you've ever eaten.

OK, I am using Quick Grits for this, yes I have fixed the venerable stone ground grits.  They are tasty but they do take alot of time and still don't always get tender.  Adhering to the warning from  "My Cousin Vinnie"'s claim that "no self-respecting Southerner would use instant grits" I do actually use Quick Grits, a happy medium.  Instant grits are just that, dump them in hot water and they're done.  Quick Grits on the other hand require you to boil the water, add the grits and cook for around 5 mins.  There are several brands, Quaker Oats, Jim Dandy, WalMart, etc.  All are about the same.  So here we go.

BTW, I had the "best grits ever in a restaurant" recently in Isle of Palms SC at Acme Lowcountry Kitchen.  What great food and wonderful folks here at this restaurant.  I also want to give a Grits Shout-out to The Noisy Oyster in Charleston SC near the market.  Their Shrimp and Grits were the second best I've had... next to mine.  I highly recommend both of these restaurants when in the Charleston/Folly Beach area.

Tastiest, creamiest Grits EVER!!!

1⅓ cups of water
1⅓ cups of Heavy Cream
⅔ cups of Quick Grits
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp Tony Chachere's
1 tbs butter

Boil the water on MED HI in a medium sized pot, add spices, once boiling add cream, bring back up to a boil.  Now add the grits, whisking them in as you pour them to prevent lumpiness.  Stir them well and bring up to a boil.  Now turn them down to LOW and let them cook for about 5 mins with a lid on, stirring occaisionally.  Add butter and whisk it in.  Turn off stove and let grits sit for about 10 mins before serving.  I believe you'll agree they are wonderful.

For Cheese Grits, you can add a cup of your shredded Colby/Jack cheese if you'd like after the butter has melted.  Adding Andouille Sausage requires you to micro dice the sausage and add it to the water in the first step.

Have fun and experiment with your grits, a grit is a terrible thing to waste.


For my Shrimp and Grits recipe, (pictured above) click HERE

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Big Batch Barbeque Baked Beans

Recently I needed to fix some BBQ'd beans for a cookout for about 20 people.  So I reworked my bean recipe and ended up making it a little cheaper and easier.  As for the BBQ sauce, I use the BBQ sauce recipe that I make, but you can also use any brand of traditional sauce.  I actually like Sweet Baby Rays, or Cattlemans.  Stay away from Kraft, I'm sorry but their's is awful.

Anyway, now that I've pissed off a major food manufacturer, let's go on with the recipe.  Enjoy this for a picnic or any sort of cookout, church social, etc.  Especially at church, when you take these beans, there's usually music to follow!

I have listed the recipe for my Blackwood Barbecue Sauce at the bottom of the page for your reference.


5 15 oz cans Van Camps Pork and Beans. Or comparable brand
8 slices bacon (diced small)
1 lg onion (diced)
1 tbs Garlic (minced)
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce.
1/4 cup Worcester sauce
1 tbs Tabasco sauce
1 tsp Tony Chachere's
1/2 cup green onions (sliced thin)
1/2 cup brown sugar.
1/2 tbs each salt and black pepper
2 tbs Liquid Smoke


To start off, open the cans of Pork and Beans. Drain off all the extra gooey liquid from the top of the cans. The beans usually settle on the bottom. If they're too "saucy/soupy" set them in a drainer in the sink while you prepare onions, etc. (never rinse this off) In a large oven-ready pot, combine bacon with the diced onions, garlic, and dry spices. Sautè until softened. Add remaining ingredients. Combine and stir really well. Place in oven for 45 mins at 350°.

Blackwood Barbecue Sauce

5 C ketchup
1 1/2 C molasses
1 1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C Worcestershire sauce
1/2 C yellow mustard
1/4 C liquid smoke
1/4 C oil
2 tbsp Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp creole seasoning
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp vinegar

Mix all ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil, stirring and being careful not to allow it to burn. Store in airtight jars or bottles. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Zac Brown Band - "Eat and Greet"

Well friends I have a guest poster for this go around.  Amy Vaughan contacted me about writing a post about Louisiana Chef Rusty Hamlin.  Rusty is the executive Chef for the Zac Brown Band.  Sounded like something that my readers would enjoy.  Thanks Amy for your help and interest. Take it away!

What’s sweeter than the sound of a traveling country/folk band? A country/folk band that serves down-home cooking, that’s what!

The Zac Brown Band is on the road, both as legendary musicians and foodies.  Its “Eat & Greet” phenomenon is the hottest ticket around; the band tours alongside a 54-foot tractor trailer that happens to also be its mobile kitchen. At the helm is executive chef Rusty Hamlin. Rusty cooks in the tradition of Louisiana and the American South, having taken over from Zac Brown, himself. Zac had been the owner and executive chef, serving four generations of family recipes of Southern gourmet cuisine, but sold his restaurant and music venue in order to purchase the band’s tour bus so that they can tour full-time.

Now, the mobile kitchen has a six-burner stove, four ovens, an 18-foot prep area with three-compartment sink and tilting skillet and a full-size walk-in refrigerator. So, what is an “Eat & Greet”? When you attend an Eat & Greet, you dine with the band – buffet-style Southern food (including, of course, LandShark Lager and Jack Daniel’s)—and have the opportunity to socialize with the musicians over dinner. 

What are you waiting for? The band is waiting to dine with you


Amy Vaughan

Monday, August 5, 2013

Yellow Squash Dressing

My friend Blake Hopper is a wonderful multi-instrumentailst, but he really shines on the 5-string banjo.  He also excels at cooking good ol down home country food.  We swap recipes from time to time, but his wife Christie, who is an amazing baker and cook flung this recipe on me after Blake had brought it into work. Oh man, oh man is it good. Give it a try for a side at dinner, especially good at Thanksgiving.

2 cups Yellow Squash (sliced thin or cubed)
2 cups cornbread (diced)
1 10oz can of Cream of Chicken Soup
½ onion (diced)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp rubbed sage
1 tbs butter
*opt. ¼ cup green onions (sliced thin)
*opt. 1 tbs garlic clove (minced)

Myself on the left with Blake Hopper on the right.
PreHeat Oven to 375 degrees.
Place your diced or sliced yellow squash in a pot with the onions, green onions, garlic and just cover them with water.  Bring to a boil and turn down a bit and cook til the yellow squach is nearly done and has softened. Carefully pour the water off reserving a bit (probably about 1/2 a cup) of the water.  Add butter and spices.  Mix in the cornbread, spices, soup mix, with the squash/veggie mixture, and pour into a glass casserole dish, or similar oven proof vessel.

Place in oven for 45 mins uncovered.  It's just that easy.  Warning, do not use a sweet cornbread with this recipe. Thank you Blake for the recipe and for being such a great guy to work with.  Thanks Christie for feeding Blake well.  The picture above is Blake (on right) and myself playing out Gibson Banjos in The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner SHow in Pigeon Forge TN.  Come see us!